“Choose a subject according to your interests and abilities - and you will get a job when you have completed your studies,” recommends Iselin Stensdal, who is a Researcher at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute and has a Master’s degree in Chinese Studies.
- What are the most important aspects of your job?
– The core work of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is social science research. We produce peer-reviewed articles and books which are published by good publishers. Some of my working hours are also devoted to preparing for and participating at conferences and seminars. Twice a year I travel either to conferences or for research purposes. At the moment I am also responsible for the website of a research project. My everyday life is also interspersed with other things such as writing articles and delivering short lectures.
- What do you like most about your job?
– The fact that I get paid for learning more about things that I am curious about and other things that I didn’t know I was curious about, and the honourable task of passing on all this information.
- Out of everything you learnt at the Faculty, what has been most useful to you in this job?
– Knowledge about China and Chinese! I also learnt a lot of Chinese during my exchange visit to the University of Fudan in Shanghai where I studied Chinese 5 and 6. My in-depth political science studies alongside my knowledge of China are also relevant for my job. Unlike in the USA, the UiO does not have double majors, but even so I undertook extra in-depth political science studies in addition to my degree requirements because I thought that it was important to have an academic discipline in order to support my knowledge of China.
- What’s your best tip for new students who are concerned about their job opportunities after graduation?
– Think with both your heart and your brain. Choose your subject according to your interests and abilities. If you are mathematically dyslexic, do not become a business economist just because that will most likely provide you with a good future income. At the same time it is also a good idea to think about the specific opportunities that you envisage you might have in a future job and investigate them. If you are interested in research, then there are research institutes and several other places that have openings for students who are writing a Master’s thesis. You should contact and investigate any of these that you would like to work with, preferably well before you write your Master’s thesis. If nothing else you will probably obtain some good tips. However, the most important thing is not to lose your courage - you will find a job when you have completed your studies, even if you were not the best in the class, chaired the Students’ Union, served as a volunteer at many events or were the king in the canteen.